Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark hit theaters at the end of the summer season, adding to a long list of formidable horror offerings moviegoers got to enjoy throughout the middle of 2019.
Guillermo Del Toro’s adaptation of the children’s book brought a lot of general creep factor, as well as some nice elements that other screenplays could do well to emulate. Here are a few things that made the film a solid horror showing.
Minimal Use of Jump Scares
The jump scare is such a tired cliché in horror films of the past decade that it has turned some fans away from the genre completely.
Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark does have some jump scares – with jump scares being defined as a sudden surprise, consisting of a creepy visual and loud noises. Luckily, it doesn’t go overboard with these frights. Even better? It saves them for the appropriate time.
One of the best things about this movie is that when the monsters themselves come on screen, they do so in a slow, pronounced manner. This gives viewers a chance to actually see the creatures before the real scares begin. What a novel concept, right?
A Product of the Time
Given this movie is based in the late 60s, the film did stay close to its time period – and that’s a good thing. The immersive use of imagery from about a half-century ago made theatergoers feel like they’d just stepped in a time machine.
There were constant references to the military conflicts of the time, which tied in nicely to the movie later. They also showed the uglier aspects of the time, such as racism, an element that was just as scary as the stories themselves but in a different way.
So many films set themselves in a time period but never really do anything to show it. This movie does that from the beginning – even if it didn’t show a caption of the year, viewers would likely be able to deduce it themselves.
Unique Character Death Scenes
It’s not much of a spoiler to say that characters die in a horror movie. Fans walking into the theater would probably ask for a refund on the way out if characters didn’t meet their demise.
Horror films have the typical methods of departure that viewers are expecting. Death via butcher knife, or maybe even becoming a monster’s dinner, is common. Without delving into the specifics, this film keeps the deaths unique – and each one is creepy in its own way.
Those who go into the movie thinking they know what to expect may be surprised. Given the characters themselves were properly surprised as well, it makes for a much more relatable horror flick, which makes a better movie in general.
While this film wasn’t a horror blockbuster, it was a solid showing that did justice to the book. Should the film’s characters make a return to the screen for a sequel?